The official purchasing managers’ index (PMI) on Sunday showed that factory activity unexpectedly shrank in October to 49.8, below the 50-point mark, which suggests contraction.

It is also marks the third consecutive month of contraction in manufacturing.

The Shanghai Composite fell 1% to 3,350.45, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index lost 0.9% to 22,445.38 points.

A private survey, which focuses on smaller to mid-size firms, also showed on Monday that factory activity fell for the eight month in a row in October, but it was an improvement from the previous month.

The Caixin/Markit manufacturing PMI was up to 48.3, from 47.2 in September.

Angus Nicholson, market analyst at trading firm IG, said manufacturing activity in China should pick up in the last few months of the year.

“The key takeaway from the manufacturing PMIs is that activity in China has stabilised in the wake of significant monetary easing and fiscal spending,” he said in a note.

Rest of Asia

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index ended down 2.1% to 18,683.24 – leading the losses in the region.

Investors are awaiting earnings from major exporters such as Nissan, due out later in the day.

The focus is also on US data, with key employment figures due on Friday, which could influence the timing of the Federal Reserve’s highly anticipated decision to raise interest rates.

In Australia, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 closed down 1.4% to 5,165.80 ahead of the central bank’s decision on interest rates on Tuesday.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is expected to keep interest rates at a record low of 2%.

Westpac shares were down 2.5% after it wrapped up Australia’s bank reporting season, seeing a 3% rise in its annual cash profit.

The country’s four major banks are preparing for their slowest earnings growth since the global financial crisis, due to low interest rates and a cooling economy.

Bucking the trend, South Korea’s Kospi index finished up 0.3% to 2,035.24 points.


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